Water scarcity

Water scarcity is the lack of fresh water resources to meet water demand. It affects every continent and was listed in 2019 by the World Economic Forum as one of the largest global risks in terms of potential impact over the next decade.[1] It is manifested by partial or no satisfaction of expressed demand, economic competition for water quantity or quality, disputes between users, irreversible depletion of groundwater, and negative impacts on the environment.[2] One-third of the global population (2 billion people) live under conditions of severe water scarcity at least 1 month of the year.[3][4][5][6] Half a billion people in the world face severe water scarcity all year round.[3] Half of the world’s largest cities experience water scarcity.[5]

A mere 0.014% of all water on Earth is both fresh and easily accessible. Of the remaining water, 97% is saline and a little less than 3% is hard to access. Technically, there is a sufficient amount of freshwater on a global scale. However, due to unequal distribution (exacerbated by climate change) resulting in some very wet and some very dry geographic locations, plus a sharp rise in global freshwater demand in recent decades driven by industry, humanity is facing a water crisis. Demand is expected to outstrip supply by 40% in 2030, if current trends continue.[5][7]

The essence of global water scarcity is the geographic and temporal mismatch between freshwater demand and availability.[8][9] The increasing world population, improving living standards, changing consumption patterns, and expansion of irrigated agriculture are the main driving forces for the rising global demand for water.[10][11] Climate change, such as altered weather-patterns (including droughts or floods), deforestation, increased pollution, green house gases, and wasteful use of water can cause insufficient supply.[12] At the global level and on an annual basis, enough freshwater is available to meet such demand, but spatial and temporal variations of water demand and availability are large, leading to (physical) water scarcity in several parts of the world during specific times of the year.[3] All causes of water scarcity are related to human interference with the water cycle. Scarcity varies over time as a result of natural hydrological variability, but varies even more so as a function of prevailing economic policy, planning and management approaches. Scarcity can be expected to intensify with most forms of economic development, but, if correctly identified, many of its causes can be predicted, avoided or mitigated.[2]

Some countries have already proven that decoupling water use from economic growth is possible. For example, in Australia, water consumption declined by 40% between 2001 and 2009 while the economy grew by more than 30%.[13] The International Resource Panel of the UN states that governments have tended to invest heavily in largely inefficient solutions: mega-projects like dams, canals, aqueducts, pipelines and water reservoirs, which are generally neither environmentally sustainable nor economically viable. The most cost-effective way of decoupling water use from economic growth, according to the scientific panel, is for governments to create holistic water management plans that take into account the entire water cycle: from source to distribution, economic use, treatment, recycling, reuse and return to the environment.[13]

Baseline water stress
Baseline water stress: ratio of total annual water withdrawals to total available annual renewable supply, accounting for upstream consumptive use
WWDR4 Global physical and economic water scarcity
Global physical and economic water scarcity

Supply & demand

Global use of freshwater, 2016 FAO data
Global water consumption 1900-2025, by region, in billions m3 per year

The total amount of easily accessible freshwater on Earth, in the form of surface water (rivers and lakes) or groundwater (in aquifers, for example), is 14.000 cubic kilometres (nearly 3359 cubic miles). Of this total amount, 'just' 5.000 cubic kilometres are being used and reused by humanity. Hence, in theory, there is more than enough freshwater available to meet the demands of the current world population of more than 7 billion people, and even support population growth to 9 billion or more. Due to the unequal geographical distribution and especially the unequal consumption of water, however, it is a scarce resource in some parts of the world and for some parts of the population.[7]

Scarcity as a result of consumption is caused primarily by the extensive use of water in agriculture/livestock breeding and industry. People in developed countries generally use about 10 times more water daily than those in developing countries.[14] A large part of this is indirect use in water-intensive agricultural and industrial production processes of consumer goods, such as fruit, oil seed crops and cotton. Because many of these production chains have been globalised, a lot of water in developing countries is being used and polluted in order to produce goods destined for consumption in developed countries.[7]

Physical & economic scarcity

Water scarcity can result from two mechanisms:

Physical water scarcity results from inadequate natural water resources to supply a region's demand, and economic water scarcity results from poor management of the sufficient available water resources. According to the United Nations Development Programme, the latter is found more often to be the cause of countries or regions experiencing water scarcity, as most countries or regions have enough water to meet household, industrial, agricultural, and environmental needs, but lack the means to provide it in an accessible manner.[15] Around one fifth of the world's population currently live in regions affected by Physical water scarcity, where there is inadequate water resources to meet a country's or regional demand, including the water needed to fulfill the demand of ecosystems to function effectively.[15] Arid regions frequently suffer from physical water scarcity. It also occurs where water seems abundant but where resources are over-committed, such as when there is over development of hydraulic infrastructure for irrigation. Symptoms of physical water scarcity include environmental degradation and declining groundwater as well as other forms of exploitation or overuse.[16]

Economic water scarcity is caused by a lack of investment in infrastructure or technology to draw water from rivers, aquifers or other water sources, or insufficient human capacity to satisfy the demand for water. One quarter of the world's population is affected by economic water scarcity. Economic water scarcity includes a lack of infrastructure, causing the people without reliable access to water to have to travel long distances to fetch water, that is often contaminated from rivers for domestic and agricultural uses. Large parts of Africa suffer from economic water scarcity; developing water infrastructure in those areas could therefore help to reduce poverty. Critical conditions often arise for economically poor and politically weak communities living in already dry environment. Consumption increases with GDP per capita in most developed countries the average amount is around 200–300 litres daily. In underdeveloped countries (e.g. African countries such as Mozambique), average daily water consumption per capita was below 10 L. This is against the backdrop of international organisations, which recommend a minimum of 20 L of water (not including the water needed for washing clothes), available at most 1 km from the household. Increased water consumption is correlated with increasing income, as measured by GDP per capita. In countries suffering from water shortages water is the subject of speculation.[17]

Human right to water

Mwamongu water source
In Meatu district, Simiyu Region, Tanzania (Africa), water most often comes from open holes dug in the sand of dry riverbeds, and it is invariably contaminated. Many children are deprived of an education primarily due to this daily task.[18][19]

The United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights established a foundation of five core attributes for water security. They declare that the human right to water entitles everyone to sufficient, safe, acceptable, physically accessible, and affordable water for personal and domestic use.[15]

Millennium Development Goals (MDG)

At the 2000 Millennium Summit, the United Nations addressed the effects of economic water scarcity by making increased access to safe drinking water an international development goal. During this time, they drafted the Millennium Development Goals and all 189 UN members agreed on eight goals. MDG 7 sets a target for reducing the proportion of the population without sustainable safe drinking water access by half by 2015. This would mean that more than 600 million people would gain access to a safe source of drinking water. In 2016, the Sustainable Development Goals replaced the Millennium Development Goals.

Effects on environment

Water scarcity has many negative impacts on the environment, including lakes, rivers, wetlands and other fresh water resources. The resulting water overuse that is related to water scarcity, often located in areas of irrigation agriculture, harms the environment in several ways including increased salinity, nutrient pollution, and the loss of floodplains and wetlands.[15][20] Furthermore, water scarcity makes flow management in the rehabilitation of urban streams problematic.[21]

Through the last hundred years, more than half of the Earth's wetlands have been destroyed and have disappeared.[12] These wetlands are important not only because they are the habitats of numerous inhabitants such as mammals, birds, fish, amphibians, and invertebrates, but they support the growing of rice and other food crops as well as provide water filtration and protection from storms and flooding. Freshwater lakes such as the Aral Sea in central Asia have also suffered. Once the fourth largest freshwater lake, it has lost more than 58,000 square km of area and vastly increased in salt concentration over the span of three decades.[12]

Subsidence, or the gradual sinking of landforms, is another result of water scarcity. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that subsidence has affected more than 17,000 square miles in 45 U.S. states, 80 percent of it due to groundwater usage. In some areas east of Houston, Texas the land has dropped by more than nine feet due to subsidence.[22] Brownwood, a subdivision near Baytown, Texas, was abandoned due to frequent flooding caused by subsidence and has since become part of the Baytown Nature Center.

Climate change

Aquifer drawdown or overdrafting and the pumping of fossil water increases the total amount of water within the hydrosphere subject to transpiration and evaporation processes, thereby causing accretion in water vapour and cloud cover, the primary absorbers of infrared radiation in the earth's atmosphere. Adding water to the system has a forcing effect on the whole earth system, an accurate estimate of which hydrogeological fact is yet to be quantified.

Depletion of freshwater resources

An abandoned ship in the former Aral Sea, near Aral, Kazakhstan

Apart from the conventional surface water sources of freshwater such as rivers and lakes, other resources of freshwater such as groundwater and glaciers have become more developed sources of freshwater, becoming the main source of clean water. Groundwater is water that has pooled below the surface of the Earth and can provide a usable quantity of water through springs or wells. These areas where groundwater is collected are also known as aquifers. Glaciers provide freshwater in the form meltwater, or freshwater melted from snow or ice, that supply streams or springs as temperatures rise. More and more of these sources are being drawn upon as conventional sources' usability decreases due to factors such as pollution or disappearance due to climate changes. Human population growth is a significant contributing factor in the increasing use of these types of water resources.[23]


Until recent history, groundwater was not a highly utilized resource. In the 1960s, more and more groundwater aquifers developed. Changes in knowledge, technology and funding have allowed for focused development into abstracting water from groundwater resources away from surface water resources. These changes allowed for progress in society such as the "agricultural groundwater revolution", expanding the irrigation sector allowing for increased food production and development in rural areas.[24] Groundwater supplies nearly half of all drinking water in the world.[25] The large volumes of water stored underground in most aquifers have a considerable buffer capacity allowing for water to be withdrawn during periods of drought or little rainfall.[23] This is crucial for people that live in regions that cannot depend on precipitation or surface water as a supply alone, instead providing reliable access to water all year round. As of 2010, the world's aggregated groundwater abstraction is estimated at approximately 1,000 km3 per year, with 67% used for irrigation, 22% used for domestic purposes and 11% used for industrial purposes.[23] The top ten major consumers of abstracted water (India, China, United States of America, Pakistan, Iran, Bangladesh, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, and Italy) make up 72% of all abstracted water use worldwide.[23] Groundwater has become crucial for the livelihoods and food security of 1.2 to 1.5 billion rural households in the poorer regions of Africa and Asia.[26]

Although groundwater sources are quite prevalent, one major area of concern is the renewal rate or recharge rate of some groundwater sources. Extracting from groundwater sources that are non-renewable could lead to exhaustion if not properly monitored and managed.[27] Another concern of increased groundwater usage is the diminished water quality of the source over time. Reduction of natural outflows, decreasing stored volumes, declining water levels and water degradation are commonly observed in groundwater systems.[23] Groundwater depletion may result in many negative effects such as increased cost of groundwater pumping, induced salinity and other water quality changes, land subsidence, degraded springs and reduced baseflows. Human pollution is also harmful to this important resource.

To set up a big plant near a water abundant area, bottled water companies need to extract groundwater from a source at a rate more than the replenishment rate leading to the persistent decline in the groundwater levels. The groundwater is taken out, bottled, and then shipped all over the country or world and this water never goes back. When the water table depletes beyond a critical limit, bottling companies just move from that area leaving a grave water scarcity. Groundwater depletion impacts everyone and everything in the area who uses water: farmers, businesses, animals, ecosystems, tourism, and the regular guy getting his water from a well. Millions of gallons of water out of the ground leaves the water table depleted uniformly and not just in that area because the water table is connected across the landmass. Bottling Plants generate water scarcity and impact ecological balance. They lead to water stressed areas which bring in droughts.[28]


Glaciers are noted as a vital water source due to their contribution to stream flow. Rising global temperatures have noticeable effects on the rate at which glaciers melt, causing glaciers in general to shrink worldwide.[29] Although the meltwater from these glaciers are increasing the total water supply for the present, the disappearance of glaciers in the long term will diminish available water resources. Increased meltwater due to rising global temperatures can also have negative effects such as flooding of lakes and dams and catastrophic results.[30]


Collecting clean water in rural Sindh (5367575654)
In 2012 in Sindh, Pakistan a shortage of clean water led people to queue to collect it where available

Hydrologists today typically assess water scarcity by looking at the population-water equation. This is done by comparing the amount of total available water resources per year to the population of a country or region. A popular approach to measuring water scarcity has been to rank countries according to the amount of annual water resources available per person. For example, according to the Falkenmark Water Stress Indicator,[31] a country or region is said to experience "water stress" when annual water supplies drop below 1,700 cubic metres per person per year. At levels between 1,700 and 1,000 cubic metres per person per year, periodic or limited water shortages can be expected. When water supplies drop below 1,000 cubic metres per person per year, the country faces "water scarcity".[32] The United Nations' FAO states that by 2025, 1.9 billion people will live in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity, and two-thirds of the world population could be under stress conditions.[33] The World Bank adds that climate change could profoundly alter future patterns of both water availability and use, thereby increasing levels of water stress and insecurity, both at the global scale and in sectors that depend on water.[34]

Other ways of measuring water scarcity include examining the physical existence of water in nature, comparing nations with lower or higher volumes of water available for use. This method often fails to capture the accessibility of the water resource to the population that may need it. Others have related water availability to population.

Another measurement, calculated as part of a wider assessment of water management in 2007,[35] aimed to relate water availability to how the resource was actually used. It therefore divided water scarcity into 'physical' and 'economic'. Physical water scarcity is where there is not enough water to meet all demands, including that needed for ecosystems to function effectively. Arid regions frequently suffer from physical water scarcity. It also occurs where water seems abundant but where resources are over-committed, such as when there is overdevelopment of hydraulic infrastructure for irrigation. Symptoms of physical water scarcity include environmental degradation and declining groundwater. Water stress harms living things because every organism needs water to live.

Renewable freshwater resources

Renewable freshwater supply is a metric often used in conjunction when evaluating water scarcity. This metric is informative because it can describe the total available water resource each country contains. By knowing the total available water source, an idea can be gained about whether a country is prone to experiencing physical water scarcity. This metric has its faults in that it is an average; precipitation delivers water unevenly across the planet each year and annual renewable water resources vary from year to year. This metric also does not describe the accessibility of water to individuals, households, industries, or the government. Lastly, as this metric is a description of a whole country, it does not accurately portray whether a country is experiencing water scarcity. Canada and Brazil both have very high levels of available water supply, but still experience various water related problems.[23]

It can be observed that tropical countries in Asia and Africa have low availability of freshwater resources.

The following table displays the average annual renewable freshwater supply by country including both surface-water and groundwater supplies.[36] This table represents data from the UN FAO AQUASTAT, much of which are produced by modeling or estimation as opposed to actual measurements.

Water stress

GEO-2000 estimate for 2025, 25 African countries are expected to suffer from water shortage or water stress.[37]

The United Nations (UN) estimates that, of 1.4 billion cubic kilometers (1 quadrillion acre-feet) of water on Earth, just 200,000 cubic kilometers (162.1 billion acre-feet) represent fresh water available for human consumption.[38]

More than one in every six people in the world is water stressed, meaning that they do not have sufficient access to potable water.[15] Those that are water stressed make up 1.1 billion people in the world and are living in developing countries. According to the Falkenmark Water Stress Indicator,[31] a country or region is said to experience "water stress" when annual water supplies drop below 1,700 cubic metres per person per year. At levels between 1,700 and 1,000 cubic meters per person per year, periodic or limited water shortages can be expected. When a country is below 1,000 cubic meters per person per year, the country then faces water scarcity . In 2006, about 700 million people in 43 countries were living below the 1,700 cubic metres per person threshold.[15] Water stress is ever intensifying in regions such as China, India, and Sub-Saharan Africa, which contains the largest number of water stressed countries of any region with almost one fourth of the population living in a water stressed country.[15] The world's most water stressed region is the Middle East with averages of 1,200 cubic metres of water per person.[15] In China, more than 538 million people are living in a water-stressed region. Much of the water stressed population currently live in river basins where the usage of water resources greatly exceed the renewal of the water source.

Changes in climate

Another popular opinion is that the amount of available freshwater is decreasing because of climate change. Climate change has caused receding glaciers, reduced stream and river flow, and shrinking lakes and ponds. Many aquifers have been over-pumped and are not recharging quickly. Although the total fresh water supply is not used up, much has become polluted, salted, unsuitable or otherwise unavailable for drinking, industry and agriculture. To avoid a global water crisis, farmers will have to strive to increase productivity to meet growing demands for food, while industry and cities find ways to use water more efficiently.[39]

A New York Times article, "Southeast Drought Study Ties Water Shortage to Population, Not Global Warming", summarizes the findings of Columbia University researcher on the subject of the droughts in the American Southeast between 2005 and 2007. The findings published in the Journal of Climate say that the water shortages resulted from population size more than rainfall. Census figures show that Georgia’s population rose from 6.48 to 9.54 million between 1990 and 2007.[40] After studying data from weather instruments, computer models, and tree ring measurements, they found that the droughts were not unprecedented and result from normal climate patterns and random weather events. "Similar droughts unfolded over the last thousand years", the researchers wrote, "Regardless of climate change, they added, similar weather patterns can be expected regularly in the future, with similar results."[40] As the temperature increases, rainfall in the Southeast will increase but because of evaporation the area may get even drier. The researchers concluded with a statement saying that any rainfall comes from complicated internal processes in the atmosphere and are very hard to predict because of the large amount of variables.

Water crisis

When there is not enough potable water for a given population, the threat of a water crisis is realized.[41] The United Nations and other world organizations consider a variety of regions to have water crises of global concern.[42][43] Other organizations, such as the Food and Agriculture Organization, argue that there are no water crises in such places, but steps must still be taken to avoid one.[44]

Effects of water crisis

There are several principal manifestations of the water crisis.

  • Food security in the Middle East and North Africa Region "Water scarcity alleviation through water footprint reduction in agriculture: The effect of soil mulching and drip irrigation". Retrieved 25 February 2019.</ref>

Waterborne diseases caused by lack of sanitation and hygiene are one of the leading causes of death worldwide. For children under age five, waterborne diseases are a leading cause of death. According to the World Bank, 88 percent of all waterborne diseases are caused by unsafe drinking water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene.[48]

Water is the underlying tenuous balance of safe water supply, but controllable factors such as the management and distribution of the water supply itself contribute to further scarcity.

A 2006 United Nations report focuses on issues of governance as the core of the water crisis, saying "There is enough water for everyone" and "Water insufficiency is often due to mismanagement, corruption, lack of appropriate institutions, bureaucratic inertia and a shortage of investment in both human capacity and physical infrastructure".[49] Official data also shows a clear correlation between access to safe water and GDP per capita.[50]

It has also been claimed, primarily by economists, that the water situation has occurred because of a lack of property rights, government regulations and subsidies in the water sector, causing prices to be too low and consumption too high, making a point for water privatization.[51][52][53]

Vegetation and wildlife are fundamentally dependent upon adequate freshwater resources. Marshes, bogs and riparian zones are more obviously dependent upon sustainable water supply, but forests and other upland ecosystems are equally at risk of significant productivity changes as water availability is diminished. In the case of wetlands, considerable area has been simply taken from wildlife use to feed and house the expanding human population. But other areas have suffered reduced productivity from gradual diminishing of freshwater inflow, as upstream sources are diverted for human use. In seven states of the U.S. over 80 percent of all historic wetlands were filled by the 1980s, when Congress acted to create a "no net loss" of wetlands.

In Europe extensive loss of wetlands has also occurred with resulting loss of biodiversity. For example, many bogs in Scotland have been developed or diminished through human population expansion. One example is the Portlethen Moss in Aberdeenshire.

Madagascar highland plateau
Deforestation of the Madagascar Highland Plateau has led to extensive siltation and unstable flows of western rivers.

On Madagascar's highland plateau, a massive transformation occurred that eliminated virtually all the heavily forested vegetation in the period 1970 to 2000. The slash and burn agriculture eliminated about ten percent of the total country's native biomass and converted it to a barren wasteland. These effects were from overpopulation and the necessity to feed poor indigenous peoples, but the adverse effects included widespread gully erosion that in turn produced heavily silted rivers that "run red" decades after the deforestation. This eliminated a large amount of usable fresh water and also destroyed much of the riverine ecosystems of several large west-flowing rivers. Several fish species have been driven to the edge of extinction and some, such as the disturbed Tokios coral reef formations in the Indian Ocean, are effectively lost. In October 2008, Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, chairman and former chief executive of Nestlé, warned that the production of biofuels will further deplete the world's water supply.

Overview of regions suffering crisis impacts

There are many other countries of the world that are severely impacted with regard to human health and inadequate drinking water. The following is a partial list of some of the countries with significant populations (numerical population of affected population listed) whose only consumption is of contaminated water:[54]

Several world maps showing various aspects of the problem can be found in this graph article.[55]

Water deficits, which are already spurring heavy grain imports in numerous smaller countries, may soon do the same in larger countries, such as China and India.[56] The water tables are falling in scores of countries (including Northern China, the US, and India) due to widespread overpumping using powerful diesel and electric pumps. Other countries affected include Pakistan, Iran, and Mexico. This will eventually lead to water scarcity and cutbacks in grain harvest. Even with the overpumping of its aquifers, China is developing a grain deficit. When this happens, it will almost certainly drive grain prices upward. Most of the 3 billion people projected to be added worldwide by mid-century will be born in countries already experiencing water shortages. Unless population growth can be slowed quickly, it is feared that there may not be a practical non-violent or humane solution to the emerging world water shortage.[57][58]

After China and India, there is a second tier of smaller countries with large water deficits — Algeria, Egypt, Iran, Mexico, and Pakistan.

According to a UN climate report, the Himalayan glaciers that are the sources of Asia's biggest rivers – Ganges, Indus, Brahmaputra, Yangtze, Mekong, Salween and Yellow – could disappear by 2035 as temperatures rise.[59] It was later revealed that the source used by the UN climate report actually stated 2350, not 2035.[60] Approximately 2.4 billion people live in the drainage basin of the Himalayan rivers.[61] India, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar could experience floods followed by droughts in coming decades. In India alone, the Ganges provides water for drinking and farming for more than 500 million people.[62][63][64] The west coast of North America, which gets much of its water from glaciers in mountain ranges such as the Rocky Mountains and Sierra Nevada, also would be affected.[65][66]

By far the largest part of Australia is desert or semi-arid lands commonly known as the outback. In June 2008 it became known that an expert panel had warned of long term, possibly irreversible, severe ecological damage for the whole Murray-Darling basin if it does not receive sufficient water by October.[67] Water restrictions are currently in place in many regions and cities of Australia in response to chronic shortages resulting from drought. The Australian of the year 2007, environmentalist Tim Flannery, predicted that unless it made drastic changes, Perth in Western Australia could become the world’s first ghost metropolis, an abandoned city with no more water to sustain its population.[68] However, Western Australia's dams reached 50% capacity for the first time since 2000 as of September 2009.[69] As a result, heavy rains brought forth positive results for the region.[69] Nonetheless, the following year, 2010, Perth suffered its second-driest winter on record[70] and the water corporation tightened water restrictions for spring.[71]

Another city facing a water crisis is Cape Town, South Africa. The government and scientists in the area were preparing for "day zero", meaning that the area was almost completely out of water.The government was hopeful that voluntary conservation efforts and environmental factors would increase the water supply in the reservoirs, but these things did not happen which increased the likelihood of the city running out of potable water. Scientists at the University of Cape Town are concerned because without a water source they are not able to conduct valuable medical research or clinical studies. [72] Day Zero was avoided and restrictions were lifted for residents, but conservation efforts are still in place with uncertainty in rainfall amounts. [73]


Madagascar well
Wind and solar power such as this installation in a village in northwest Madagascar can make a difference in safe water supply.

Construction of wastewater treatment plants and reduction of groundwater overdrafting appear to be obvious solutions to the worldwide problem; however, a deeper look reveals more fundamental issues in play. Wastewater treatment is highly capital intensive, restricting access to this technology in some regions; furthermore the rapid increase in population of many countries makes this a race that is difficult to win. As if those factors are not daunting enough, one must consider the enormous costs and skill sets involved to maintain wastewater treatment plants even if they are successfully developed.

Reducing groundwater overdrafting is usually politically unpopular, and can have major economic impacts on farmers. Moreover, this strategy necessarily reduces crop output, something the world can ill-afford given the current population.

At more realistic levels, developing countries can strive to achieve primary wastewater treatment or secure septic systems, and carefully analyse wastewater outfall design to minimize impacts to drinking water and to ecosystems. Developed countries can not only share technology better, including cost-effective wastewater and water treatment systems but also in hydrological transport modeling. At the individual level, people in developed countries can look inward and reduce over consumption, which further strains worldwide water consumption. Both developed and developing countries can increase protection of ecosystems, especially wetlands and riparian zones. There measures will not only conserve biota, but also render more effective the natural water cycle flushing and transport that make water systems more healthy for humans.

A range of local, low-tech solutions are being pursued by a number of companies. These efforts center around the use of solar power to distill water at temperatures slightly beneath that at which water boils. By developing the capability to purify any available water source, local business models could be built around the new technologies, accelerating their uptake. For example, Bedouins from the town of Dahab in Egypt have installed Aqua Danial's Water Stellar, which uses a solar thermal collector measuring two square meters to distill from 40 to 60 liters per day from any local water source. This is five times more efficient than conventional stills and eliminates the need for polluting plastic PET bottles or transportation of water supply.[74]

Global experiences in managing water crisis

It is alleged that the likelihood of conflict rises if the rate of change within the basin exceeds the capacity of institution to absorb that change.[65] Although water crisis is closely related to regional tensions, history showed that acute conflicts over water are far less than the record of cooperation.

The key lies in strong institutions and cooperation. The Indus River Commission and the Indus Water Treaty survived two wars between India and Pakistan despite their hostility, proving to be a successful mechanism in resolving conflicts by providing a framework for consultation inspection and exchange of data. The Mekong Committee has also functioned since 1957 and survived the Vietnam War. In contrast, regional instability results when there is an absence of institutions to co-operate in regional collaboration, like Egypt's plan for a high dam on the Nile. However, there is currently no global institution in place for the management and management of trans-boundary water sources, and international co-operation has happened through ad hoc collaborations between agencies, like the Mekong Committee which was formed due to an alliance between UNICEF and the US Bureau of Reclamation. Formation of strong international institutions seems to be a way forward – they fuel early intervention and management, preventing the costly dispute resolution process.

One common feature of almost all resolved disputes is that the negotiations had a "need-based" instead of a "right–based" paradigm. Irrigable lands, population, technicalities of projects define "needs". The success of a need-based paradigm is reflected in the only water agreement ever negotiated in the Jordan River Basin, which focuses in needs not on rights of riparians. In the Indian subcontinent, irrigation requirements of Bangladesh determine water allocations of the Ganges River. A need-based, regional approach focuses on satisfying individuals with their need of water, ensuring that minimum quantitative needs are being met. It removes the conflict that arises when countries view the treaty from a national interest point of view, move away from the zero-sum approach to a positive sum, integrative approach that equitably allocated the water and its benefits.

The Blue Peace framework developed by Strategic Foresight Group in partnership with the Governments of Switzerland and Sweden offers a unique policy structure which promotes sustainable management of water resources combined with cooperation for peace. By making the most of shared water resources through cooperation rather than mere allocation between countries, the chances for peace can be increased.[75] The Blue Peace approach has proven to be effective in cases like the Middle East[76][77] and the Nile basin.[78][79] NGOs like Water.org, There Is No Limit Foundation,[80] and Charity: Water are leading the way in providing access to clean water.

See also


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Further reading

  • An International Food Policy Research Institute book about the intersection of water policy, globalization and food security: Ringler, C., Biswas, A., and Cline, S., eds. 2010. Global Change: Impacts on Water and Food Security. Heidelberg: Springer.
  • Steven Solomon (2010). Water: The Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power, and Civilization. Harper. p. 608. ISBN 978-0-06-054830-8.
  • Alexander Bell (2009). Peak Water : Civilisation and the world's water crisis. Edinburgh: Luath. p. 208. ISBN 1-906817-19-7.
  • Peter H. Gleick, ed. (2009). The World's Water 2008–2009: The Biennial Report on Freshwater Resources. Washington D.C. : Island Press. p. 402. ISBN 1597265055.
  • Maude Barlow (2007). Blue covenant : the global water crisis and the coming battle for the right to water. New York : New Press : Distributed by W.W. Norton. p. 196. ISBN 978-1-59558-186-0.
  • Richard Heinberg (2007). Peak Everything: Waking Up to the Century of Declines. Gabriola, BC : New Society Publishers. p. 213. ISBN 978-0-86571-598-1.
  • Engelbert, Ernest A.; Ann Foley Scheuring, eds. (c. 1984). Water Scarcity: Impacts on Western Agriculture. Berkeley: University of California Press.
  • Jameel M. Zayed. "no-peace-without-water"-–-the-role-of-hydropolitics-in-the-israel-palestine-conflict "No Peace Without Water – The Role of Hydropolitics in the Israel-Palestine Conflict". London.

External links

2019 Metro Manila water crisis

On early March 2019, numerous areas across Metro Manila, estimated to be 52,000 households by Manila Water, began to experience water scarcity.


A region is arid when it is characterized by a severe lack of available water, to the extent of hindering or preventing the growth and development of plant and animal life. Environments subject to arid climates tend to lack vegetation and are called xeric or desertic. Most "arid" climates straddle the Equator; these places include parts of Africa, South America, Central America, and Australia.

Desert warfare

In desert warfare, the elements can sometimes be more dangerous than the actual enemy. The desert terrain is the second most inhospitable to troops following a cold environment. The low humidity, extremes of heat/cold, and lack of obstacles and wild-life allows the increased use of electronic devices and unmanned aircraft for surveillance and attacks.

Economic water scarcity

Economic water scarcity is caused by a lack of investment in water infrastructure or insufficient human capacity to satisfy the demand of water in areas where the population cannot afford to use an adequate source of water.

Symptoms of economic water scarcity include a lack of infrastructure, with people often having to fetch water from rivers or lakes for domestic and agricultural uses (irrigation). Although much emphasis is put on improving water sources for drinking and domestic purposes, evidence suggests that much more water is used for other uses such as bathing, laundry, livestock and cleaning than for drinking and cooking alone. This observation suggests that putting too much emphasis on drinking water needs addresses an insignificant part of the problem of water resources and therefore limits the range of solutions available.Large parts of Africa suffer from economic water scarcity; developing water infrastructure there could therefore help to reduce poverty. Investing in water retention and irrigation infrastructure would also help to increase food production, especially in developing countries that largely rely on low-yield agriculture. Being able to provide a community with water that is adequate for consumption would also greatly benefit the people’s health. Overcoming this type of scarcity, however, can require more than just new infrastructure; it requires socio-economic and socio-political types of intervention that address poverty and socio-inequality but because there is a lack of funding, much planning must come into play.The term was first defined in a wide-ranging 2007 study on the use of water in agriculture over the previous 50 years of practitioners, researchers and policymakers, overseen by the International Water Management Institute in Sri Lanka, with the aim of finding out if the world had sufficient water resources to produce food for the growing population in the future. Water is one of the most crucial elements in developmental planning;

efforts to develop, conserve, utilize and manage water resources have to be guided by national perspectives.The term physical water scarcity was used by the study to define situations where there is not enough water to meet all demands, including that needed for ecosystems to function effectively.

Environmental issues in Australia

Environmental issues in Australia describes a number of environmental issues which affect the environment of Australia. There are a range of such issues, some of the relating to conservation in Australia while others, for example the deteriorating state of Murray-Darling Basin, have a direct and serious effect on human land use and the economy.

Many human activities including the use of natural resources have a direct impact on the Australian environment.

These issues are the primary concern of the environmental movement in Australia.

Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation (Egypt)

The Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation is the ministry in charge of managing the water resources of the Arab Republic of Egypt mainly the Nile. It also manages irrigation projects in Egypt, such as the Aswan Dam and Al-Salam Canal. Its headquarters are in Cairo.

On 23 March 2016, Mohamed Abdel-Ati was appointed Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation.

Physical water scarcity

Physical water scarcity occurs when and where there is not enough water to meet both human demands and those of ecosystems to function effectively. Arid regions frequently suffer from physical water scarcity. It also occurs where water seems abundant but resources are over-committed. This can happen where there is overdevelopment of hydraulic infrastructure, often for irrigation or energy generation. Symptoms of physical water scarcity are severe environmental degradation, declining groundwater and water allocations that favour some groups over others.The term was first defined in a wide-ranging 2007 study on the use of water in agriculture over the previous 50 years. The study was undertaken by a broad partnership of practitioners, researchers and policymakers, overseen by the International Water Management Institute in Sri Lanka, with the aim of finding out if the world has sufficient water resources to produce food for future populations. The study found that more than 1.2 billion people live in areas of physical water scarcity.

The term economic water scarcity was used by the study to define situations where demand for water is not satisfied because of a lack of investment in water or a lack of human capacity to satisfy demand.

Rainbow Mars

Rainbow Mars is a 1999 science fiction short story collection by American writer Larry Niven. It includes the five previously published Hanville Svetz stories and the eponymous novella, which was written for the collection. The setting of the Svetz stories is Earth in the distant future. The hereditary leader of the Earth, known as the Secretary General, is an inbred imbecile. In order to maintain the interest of the Secretary, different factions in the capitol use their advanced science to amuse him. Svetz's section uses time travel in an attempt to bring back long extinct animals from Earth's past. Unbeknownst to Svetz and his team, they are actually travelling back into fictional pasts, and returning with mythical creatures.

Refugees of the Syrian Civil War in Jordan

Refugees in Jordan rose with the uprising against the Syrian government and its President Bashar al-Assad. Close to 2,000 Syrians per day began pouring into Jordan to reside in its refugee camps.As a small, aid-dependent country already suffering from financial and environmental issues, the number of Syrians seeking refuge in Jordan has created a strain on the country's resources, especially water and agriculture. As one of the top ten driest countries in the world, Jordanians' livelihood is already at risk, and the influx of new residents has only exacerbated the issue of water scarcity.

Sewer mining

Sewer mining (or sewage mining) is a concept where municipal wastewater (sewage) is pumped from a trunk sewer and treated on-site to accommodate a range of local, nonpotable water needs. It is a strategy for combating water scarcity. It combines decentralized wastewater management and water reclamation. Since 2012, it is used as a tool for improving water management and promoting reuse of water in Australia.

Thanneer Thanneer

Thaneer Thaneer (Water Water) is a 1981 Indian Tamil language drama film, directed by K. Balachander starring Saritha, Shunmugham, V. K. Veeraswami and Radha Ravi. The film, based on the play in 1980 by the same name by Komal Swaminathan was filmed by B. S. Loknath and featured music by M. S. Viswanathan. It was released during the Diwali day in 1981. In the titles, Komal Swaminathan was credited for the original story, while screenplay was by K. Balachander. It is said that Komal Swaminathan was fully satisfied with the movie version of his powerful play.Thanneer Thanneer deals with issues such as water scarcity and political corruption. Inhabitants of a drought-ridden village in Tamil Nadu, Athipati, try a cooperative method to bring water to their village, but their attempts are thwarted by unscrupulous politicians who try to use the water problem for their political gains. The film has been highly critically acclaimed and considered a "classic", and fetched several accolades including two National Film Awards and two Filmfare Awards South. IBN Live included the film in its list of 100 greatest Indian films of all time. Balachander has revealed that there is no existing copy of the negative of the film anymore.

The Burning World (novel)

The Burning World is a 1964 science fiction novel by British author J. G. Ballard. An expanded version, retitled The Drought, was first published in 1965 by Jonathan Cape.

Water (Battlestar Galactica)

"Water" is the second episode of season 1 of the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica television series.

Water resource management

Water resource management is the activity of planning, developing, distributing and managing the optimum use of water resources. It is a sub-set of water cycle management.

The field of water resources management will have to continue to adapt to the current and future issues facing the allocation of water. With the growing uncertainties of global climate change and the long term impacts of management actions,the decision-making will be even more difficult. It is likely that ongoing climate change will lead to situations that have not been encountered. As a result, alternative management strategies are sought for in order to avoid setbacks in the allocation of water resources.

Ideally, water resource management planning has regard to all the competing demands for water and seeks to allocate water on an equitable basis to satisfy all uses and demands. As with other resource management, this is rarely possible in practice.

One of the biggest concerns for our water-based resources in the future is the sustainability of the current and even future water resource allocation. As water becomes more scarce, the importance of how it is managed grows vastly. Finding a balance between what is needed by humans and what is needed in the environment is an important step in the sustainability of water resources. Attempts to create sustainable freshwater systems have been seen on a national level in countries such as Australia, and such commitment to the environment could set a model for the rest of the world.

Water scarcity in Africa

Water scarcity or lack of safe drinking water is one of the world's leading problems affecting more than 1.1 billion people globally, meaning that one in every six people lacks access to safe drinking water. The Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation set up by the World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) defines safe drinking water as "water with microbial, chemical and physical characteristics that meets WHO guidelines or national standards on drinking water quality." Hydrologists generally assess water scarcity by looking at a population-to-water equation that treats 1,700 cubic meters per person as the national threshold for meeting water requirements for agricultural and industrial production, energy, and the environment. Availability below the threshold of 1,000 cubic meters represents a state of "water scarcity", while anything below 500 cubic meters represents a state of "absolute scarcity".As of 2006, one third of all nations suffered from clean water scarcity, but Sub-Saharan Africa had the largest number of water-stressed countries of any other place on the planet and of an estimated 800 million people who live in Africa, 300 million live in a water stressed environment. According to findings presented at the 2012 Conference on "Water Scarcity in Africa: Issues and Challenges", it is estimated that by 2030, 75 million to 250 million people in Africa will be living in areas of high water stress, which will likely displace anywhere between 24 million and 700 million people as conditions become increasingly unlivable.

Water scarcity in India

Water scarcity involves water stress, water shortage or deficits, and water crisis. This may be due to both nature and humans. Main factors that contribute to this issue includes poor management of resources, lack of government attention, and man-made waste. 18 percent of the world's population which resides in India only has access to 4 percent of usable water sources. Official data in the past decade depicts how annual per capita availability of water in the country has plummeted significantly with 163 million Indians lacking access to safe drinking water. . The National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Ayog), Government of India think tank has released report ‘Composite Water Management Index ’ in June 2018 and listed Delhi and other 21 cities in India which would run out of groundwater by 2020. Excessive use of groundwater for irrigation in agriculture has also caused a strain in the resource. As India is one of the top agriculture producers in the world, the consumption of water for land and crops is also one of the highest. The results of the widespread use of ineffective techniques used for irrigation aligned with mismanagement are few of the reasons for the water deficit. A significant portion of water used for industrial and domestic purposes is waste when returned to the streams. The demand for freshwater is increasing with the growing population, but the decreasing amount of supply fails to meet the needs of the people.The increased amount of solid wastes in water systems such as lakes, canals and rivers also heavily pollute the water. To combat this problem, the government issued the Ganga Action Plan issued in 1984 to clean up the Ganges River. However, much of the river remains polluted with a high coliform count at many places. This is largely due to lack of maintenance of the facilities as well inadequate fees for service. Due to this issue, urgent need for safe drinking water is 70.1% of the households in urban areas. 18.7 % in rural received organized pipe water supply and others have to depend on surface and ground water which is untreated.So therefore water is a scarce resource in INDIA . />

Water scarcity in Mexico

The extent of water scarcity in Mexico is so serious that the government released an advertising campaign titled "February 2010: The City May Run Out of Water". With an ever-increasing demand and an increasingly limited supply, certain cities in Mexico risk being void of water. There may be other major global metropolises (Los Angeles springs to mind) that have invested more effort and money than Mexico City to bring in water from afar. But there is surely none that has invested as much effort and money to send the water back out.

Mexico City's hydrological paradox is that (unlike Los Angeles) it gets more than enough rain to, in theory, keep the 21 million people who live in and around it adequately supplied with water. Its average annual precipitation is about twice that of Los Angeles, and even exceeds that of famously damp London. But most of the rainfall (or hail, which hit parts of the city early Monday) comes during the summer, and often during just a few epic storms. So when it's wet, it's way too wet, and the city has built a massive infrastructure over the past five centuries to get the water out quickly. To keep hydrated during the drier months, Mexico City imports water from other regions but mainly just pumps from underground, which causes land subsidence, which makes flooding worse.

Currently in Mexico, agriculture accounts for 77% of water use, industry 10% and domestic uses account for 13%. As a consequence of the 1980 economic crisis, the Mexican irrigation infrastructure became a victim of underinvestment and neglect. Of the 82 irrigation districts present, 42 are in a state of slow deterioration, exacerbating an inefficient usage of water. Furthermore, in a water-saving tax Tarifa 09, the biggest users of water by far - the farmers, were actually exempted.With an increasing population and considerable economic activities, the Mexican residents of semi-arid and arid north, northwest and central regions use on average 75 gallons of water a day, compared to their US counterparts who use only 50. These regions also account for 84% of Mexico's GDP, 77% of the population, but have only 28% of runoff water supply. Such high demand factors coupled with low water supplies, means water scarcity is particular evident and serious in these regions.

Mexico is also heavily dependent on underground aquifers, as it continues to draw water from these sources to supply almost 70% of its needs. However, the rate of extraction has far exceeded replenishment. Currently, 101 of the 653 aquifers in Mexico are severely exploited, all of which are located in the water scarce regions. Continual draining of water from such aquifers have resulted in the city plunging some 10 metres in the 20th century, clearly indicating that other alternatives are required to sustain the water supply of Mexico.

An alternative is the tapping of water from the Cutzmala dam system. Huge pipes that used to expel wastewater to prevent flooding are now being used to pipe water into the city from the dam system. Water is transported across a total distance of 180 kilometres and almost 1000 metres in altitude to reach water scarce states. However, this presents no viable long-term solution either, as the dam system itself is drying up. Enduring the worst drought in 70 years, the Cutzamala basin is only at 47% of its capacity. Yet its water level continues to fall rapidly. Providing a fifth of Mexico's water, the poor infrastructural state of the aged system underscores a loss of 40% or 6000 litres of water every second before reaching Mexico. Repair projects requiring M70million have since been shelved, contributing to the standstill in efforts to solve Mexico's water scarcity problem.

Water supply and sanitation in Taiwan

Water supply and sanitation in Taiwan is characterized by uneven distribution of precipitation and a dense population.

World Gone Wild

World Gone Wild is a 1988 science fiction film directed by Lee H. Katzin, and stars Bruce Dern and Michael Paré. It was nominated for a Young Artist Award in 1989.

Total renewable freshwater supply by country[36]
Rank Country Annual renewable water

resources (km3/year)

Region Year of estimate
1 Kuwait 0.02 Asia 2008
2 St. Kitts and Nevis 0.02 North and Central America 2000
3 Maldives 0.03 Asia 1999
4 Malta 0.07 Europe 2005
5 Antigua and Barbuda 0.1 North and Central America 2000
6 Qatar 0.1 Asia 2008
7 Barbados 0.1 North and Central America 2003
8 Bahrain 0.1 Asia 2008
9 United Arab Emirates 0.2 Asia 2008
10 Cape Verde 0.3 Africa 2005
11 Djibouti 0.3 Africa 2005
12 Cyprus 0.3 Europe 2007
13 Libya 0.6 Africa 2005
14 Singapore 0.6 Asia 1975
15 Jordan 0.9 Asia 2008
16 Comoros 1.2 Africa 2005
17 Oman 1.4 Asia 2008
18 Luxembourg 1.6 Europe 2007
19 Israel 1.8 Asia 2008
20 Yemen 2.1 Asia 2008
21 Saudi Arabia 2.4 Asia 2008
22 Mauritius 2.8 Africa 2005
23 Burundi 3.6 Africa 1987
24 Trinidad and Tobago 3.8 North and Central America 2000
25 Swaziland 4.5 Africa 1987
26 Lebanon 4.5 Asia 2008
27 Tunisia 4.6 Africa 2005
28 Reunion 5.0 Africa 1988
29 Lesotho 5.2 Africa 1987
30 Eritrea 6.3 Africa 2001
31 Macedonia 6.4 Europe 2001
32 Armenia 7.8 Former Soviet Union 2008
33 Gambia 8.0 Africa 2005
34 Brunei 8.5 Asia 1999
35 Jamaica 9.4 North and Central America 2000
36 Rwanda 9.5 Africa 2005
37 Mauritania 11.4 Africa 2005
38 Algeria 11.6 Africa 2005
39 Moldova 11.7 Former Soviet Union 1997
40 Estonia 12.3 Europe 2007
41 Estonia 12.8 Former Soviet Union 1997
42 Haiti 14.0 North and Central America 2000
43 Somalia 14.2 Africa 2005
44 Botswana 14.7 Africa 2001
45 Togo 14.7 Africa 2001
46 Czech Republic 16.0 Europe 2007
47 Denmark 16.3 Europe 2007
48 Syria 16.8 Asia 2008
49 Malawi 17.3 Africa 2001
50 Burkina Faso 17.5 Africa 2001
51 Namibia 17.7 Africa 2005
52 Belize 18.6 North and Central America 2000
53 Zimbabwe 20.0 Africa 1987
54 Belgium 20.0 Europe 2007
55 Dominican Republic 21.0 North and Central America 2000
56 Lithuania 24.5 Former Soviet Union 2007
57 El Salvador 25.2 North and Central America 2001
58 Romania 25.7 Europe 2007
59 Benin 25.8 Africa 2001
60 Equatorial Guinea 26 Africa 2001
61 Fiji 28.6 Oceania 1987
62 Morocco 29.0 Africa 2005
63 Kenya 30.7 Africa 2005
64 Guinea-Bissau 31.0 Africa 2005
65 Slovenia 32.1 Europe 2007
66 Niger 33.7 Africa 2005
67 Azerbaijan 34.7 Former Soviet Union 2008
68 Mongolia 34.8 Asia 1999
69 Bosnia and Herzegovina 37.5 Europe 2003
70 Cuba 38.1 North and Central America 2000
71 Senegal 39.4 Africa 1987
72 Albania 41.7 Europe 2001
73 Chad 43.0 Africa 1987
74 Solomon Islands 44.7 Oceania 1987
75 Kyrgyzstan 46.5 Former Soviet Union 1997
76 Ireland 46.8 Europe 2003
77 South Africa 50.0 Africa 2005
78 Sri Lanka 50.0 Asia 1999
79 Slovakia 50.1 Europe 2007
80 Ghana 53.2 Africa 2001
81 Switzerland 53.5 Europe 2007
82 Belarus 58.0 Former Soviet Union 1997
83 Egypt 58.3 Africa 2005
84 Turkmenistan 60.9 Former Soviet Union 1997
85 Poland 63.1 Europe 2007
86 Georgia 63.3 Former Soviet Union 2008
87 Sudan 64.5 Africa 2005
88 Afghanistan 65.0 Asia 1997
89 Uganda 66.0 Africa 2005
90 Taiwan 67.0 Asia 2000
91 Korea Rep 69.7 Asia 1999
92 Greece 72.0 Europe 2007
93 Uzbekistan 72.2 Former Soviet Union 2003
94 Portugal 73.6 Europe 2007
95 Iraq 75.6 Asia 2008
96 Korea DPR 77.1 Asia 1999
97 Côte d'Ivoire 81 Africa 2001
98 Austria 84.0 Europe 2007
99 Netherlands 89.7 Europe 2007
100 Tanzania 91 Africa 2001
101 Bhutan 95.0 Asia 1987
102 Honduras 95.9 North and Central America 2000
103 Tajikistan 99.7 Former Soviet Union 1997
104 Mali 100.0 Africa 2005
105 Zambia 105.2 Africa 2001
106 Croatia 105.5 Europe 1998
107 Bulgaria 107.2 Europe 2010
108 Kazakhstan 109.6 Former Soviet Union 1997
109 Ethiopia 110.0 Africa 1987
110 Finland 110.0 Europe 2007
111 Spain 111.1 Europe 2007
112 Guatemala 111.3 North and Central America 2000
113 Costa Rica 112.4 North and Central America 2000
114 Hungary 116.4 Europe 2007
115 Suriname 122.0 South America 2003
116 Iran 137.5 Asia 2008
117 Uruguay 139.0 South America 2000
118 Ukraine 139.5 Former Soviet Union 1997
119 Central African Republic 144.4 Africa 2005
120 Panama 148.0 North and Central America 2000
121 Sierra Leone 160.0 Africa 1987
122 Gabon 164.0 Africa 1987
123 Iceland 170.0 Europe 2007
124 Italy 175.0 Europe 2007
125 United Kingdom 175.3 Europe 2007
126 Sweden 183.4 Europe 2007
127 Angola 184.0 Africa 1987
128 France 186.3 Europe 2007
129 Germany 188.0 Europe 2007
130 Nicaragua 196.7 North and Central America 2000
131 Serbia-Montenegro* 208.5 Europe 2003
132 Nepal 210.2 Asia 1999
133 Turkey 213.6 Asia 2008
134 Mozambique 217.1 Africa 2005
135 Guinea 226.0 Africa 1987
136 Liberia 232.0 Africa 1987
137 Pakistan 233.8 Asia 2003
138 Guyana 241.0 South America 2000
139 Cameroon 285.5 Africa 2003
140 Nigeria 286.2 Africa 2005
141 Laos 333.6 Asia 2003
142 Paraguay 336.0 South America 2000
143 Australia 336.1 Oceania 2005
144 Madagascar 337.0 Africa 2005
145 Latvia 337.3 Former Soviet Union 2007
146 Norway 389.4 Europe 2007
147 New Zealand 397.0 Oceania 1995
148 Thailand 409.9 Asia 1999
149 Japan 430.0 Asia 1999
150 Ecuador 432.0 South America 2000
151 Mexico 457.2 North and Central America 2000
152 Cambodia 476.1 Asia 1999
153 Philippines 479.0 Asia 1999
154 Malaysia 580.0 Asia 1999
155 Bolivia 622.5 South America 2000
156 Papua New Guinea 801.0 Oceania 1987
157 Argentina 814.0 South America 2000
158 Congo 832.0 Africa 1987
159 Vietnam 891.2 Asia 1999
160 Chile 922.0 South America 2000
161 Myanmar 1045.6 Asia 1999
162 Bangladesh 1210.6 Asia 1999
163 Venezuela 1233.2 South America 2000
164 Congo, Democratic Republic (formerly Zaire) 1283 Africa 2001
165 India 1907.8 Asia 1999
166 Peru 1913.0 South America 2000
167 Colombia 2132.0 South America 2000
168 China 2738.8 Asia 2008
169 Indonesia 2838.0 Asia 1999
170 United States of America 3069.0 North and Central America 1985
171 Canada 3300.0 North and Central America 1985
172 Russia 4498.0 Former Soviet Union 1997
173 Brazil 8233.0 South America 2000
Major topics
Biological and
related topics
Human impact on
the environment
Events and
Related topics
Cities/urban regions
Past and future
Population density
Growth indicators
and innovation
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